City police clarifies team yet to arrest Cebu teen’s killer

CEBU CITY — The Lapu-Lapu City Police Office on Friday clarified that their tracker team is still out to arrest one of the suspects in the brutal murder of Christine Lee Silawan.

The clarification came following confusing posts circulating over social media, tagging a cult member from Danao City as one of the primary suspects in the killing of the 16-year-old church collector.

Colonel Limuel Obon, chief of police in Lapu-Lapu City, said the team’s manhunt operation to arrest the primary suspect is still ongoing.

“We are hopeful nga ma-arrest nato ang (that we can arrest the) primary suspect,” Obon said, adding that despite the confusion surrounding the identity of the primary suspect, they will still pursue and arrest him.

On Thursday, the name and photos of one Jonas Buenos were posted on Facebook. The posts claimed that Buenos was already in the hands of the operatives of the Police Regional Office (PRO-7), but the police denied it.

It was not, however, confirmed nor denied if Buenos is indeed the “primary suspect” the chief of police was referring to during his media interview.

Buenos is a member of the notorious “Buenos brothers” gang and listed as among the most wanted criminals in Carmen, Cebu, after being accused of killing Trinidad “Trening" Batucan, 62, a farmer, in Danao City.

Cebu Provincial Police Office Director, Colonel Manuel Abrugena, said Jonas, along with his brothers Junrey and Juvy, is wanted for murder and robbery. After robbing Batucan, the trio killed Batucan and had his face and neck skinned to the bone. The victim was found dead last January 11.

The Buenos brothers were reportedly former members of the New People's Army operating in the mountain barangays of Carmen and Danao.

Junrey and Juvy were killed after they engaged the police in a shootout, while Jonas was able to escape and went into hiding in the hinterlands between Danao and Carmen.

Meanwhile, the cash reward for any information that could lead to the arrest of Silawan’s killers was raised to PHP2 million, after the Provincial Women’s Commission - chaired by Vice Governor Agnes Magpale - on Thursday pledged PHP200,000 more.

Lourdes Silawan, the mother of Christine, on Friday said they will not bury the body of her daughter until the primary suspect is arrested.

She said her family wants the suspects arrested before Christine’s birthday on March 26, when she is supposed to turn 17. (PNA)

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